Keith Sharp Statement

Artist Statement
"Nature Boy" Series

When I was a little boy, I very much enjoyed exploring nature by collecting bugs, looking for critters in creeks, and by taking walks. In the “Nature Boy” series, I have combined my interests in nature and self-portraiture by having portrayed myself transforming into a tree creature. In doing so, I am able to step into my romanticized view of the world. I photographed familiar situations but with a twist in an attempt to make the viewer do a double take. The inherent awkwardness of this character trying to blend in portrays my experiences as an outsider trying to fit in to my environment. I began this series by creating sketches of the various ways that I could imagine myself transforming into this creature. The props that I created for these performances were created from natural and artificial materials – bark, leaves, flowers, old clothes, fabric, plastics, paint, and glue. While some of the costumes have remained intact, others have fallen apart. A photograph is the end result of these performances.

Process Statement
As a photographer, I have always enjoyed working in black and white photography as opposed to color since it creates that nostalgic or "something from the past" feel to the work. I also like it because it brings out that “normal-but-strange” Albert Hitchcock quality in the work. I use a medium format camera with traditional black and white film and silver gelatin paper to create my images. I am inspired by a wide range of artists, including Rene Magritte, Robert Gober, Robert Irwin, Vik Muniz, Elliot Erwitt, Roger Mertin, Teun Hocks, Gregory Crewdson, Gabriel Orozco, John Pfahl, Arthur Tress, and Sandy Skoglund.

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